18 Aug Varsity group learns about land reclamation project
Published by Metro News • 21/07/2022
USM lecturers and students taking a photo with PPSN staff after the site visit.
THE public have more understanding and a better overall perception of the Penang South Islands (PSI) project as information is now easily available through Penang’s Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan (PPSN).
The latest to visit PPSN in Permatang Damar Laut, Bayan Lepas, Penang was a group of26 environmental science postgraduate students and 15 lecturers from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Industrial Technology School.
Senior lecturer Dr Widad Fadhullah said she and her students wanted to understand the socioeconomic and environmental impact of the PSI project.
Her students were doing a project on the Ecosystem Services Site Assessment toolkit at the PSI site in Permatang Damar Laut.
“Our students’ interest in the reclamation site covered areas like the wild and cultivated fisheries, coastal protection, water quality, sedimentation and mangrove rehabilitation.
(From left) Widad says the visit provides students with experiential learning that focuses on sustainability. Jagadeesh thinks the PSI project will be good for the economy and Lin says the impact on fishermen will be minimal.
“Our aim is to learn about the development’s impact on the local community and whether they will receive any financial assistance or incentives.
“We also want to know the impact on the marine and coastal ecosystems.
“The fieldwork excursion provided the students with experiential learning that focuses on economic, social and environmental sustainability,” she said.
The visitors were briefed on PSI’s Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) and Penang Ecology Offset Masterplan (PEOM).
“After hearing about the SIMP and PEOM, transport management and low-carbon goals of the development, we are now clearer about the project implementation and how the community will be compensated in certain aspects,” said Widad.
Post-graduate student Lin Lin 24, from China, said that after reading certain reports she was given the impression that PSI would negatively impact the fishing community.
“On the contrary, the impact on the fishermen will be minimal and the project may even give them more opportunities.
“It will likely increase their income and benefit future generations,” she added.
Lin said PSI would be a very good tourism product and attract many investors too.
Another student D. Jagadeesh, 31, said many other countries were also undertaking reclamation projects.
He said he supported PSI as it would be good for the economy and create jobs.
“Before this, I too had my reservations about the project, thinking it will adversely impact the local community and environment.
“As an environmental student, I must say the mitigation plans are good,” he said.
Penang Infrastructure Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus welcomed the visit by the lecturers and students.
“PSI is a project that takes into account the interests of the environment, the community and the economy as well as efficient and transparent governance.
“It is a suitable case study for experts and students from universities.
“We welcome more visits like this to exchange information,” added Farizan